By Paulina Leskow, ’24
The year is now 2022. It has been almost two full years since our world shut down due to the coronavirus. The virus, however, has not stopped. With new variants continuing to emerge, the mask policy remains in effect in Hanover schools. Whether vaccinated or not, all students and staff must wear a mask in the school building and during sporting events.
The new year brought about some new policies, which include the town of Hanover strongly recommending that people wear masks in common areas like restaurants. In addition, the state extended the mask mandate in schools until the end of February; it was initially set to expire in mid-January. The Centers for Disease Control has also shortened the quarantine time for asymptomatic people.
Although these are important policies, many would say the most significant one is that a school with 80 percent of students and staff fully vaccinated can go mask-free. Several schools in the surrounding area no longer require masks, including Norwell High School, Cohasset Middle School and Cohasset High School. Hanover High School is at 77 percent vaccinated, according to a recent email from Patricia Smith, the district’s director of health services. Cedar School, Center School, and Hanover Middle School vaccination rates are currently less than 60 percent, Mrs. Smith said. Once a school reaches the 80 percent mark required by the state, local officials can decide whether to drop or continue its mask mandate.
HHS students have differing opinions on masks at school.
“It would be safer to keep them on for a bit longer,” said junior Melissa Manning. “Even with everyone wearing masks, many people continue to get sick and having masks off would increase that rate of sickness.”
Another student, who asked to be anonymous, said that when enough people are vaccinated, Hanover schools should go mask-free. ”Once we hit that vaccination rate, those who received the vaccine will be protected, and those who did not can choose to either wear a mask or face the consequences of the virus,” the student said.
No matter what opinions you have about the vaccine, masks, and the coronavirus, it is always important to stay safe and help keep yourself and others healthy. The school district continues to administer pool testing and has begun at-home testing for students and staff who opt into that program.
Featured image: https://www.edweek.org/leadership/what-does-the-cdcs-new-mask-recommendation-mean-for-schools/2021/05